People who really know me know that I’m a sucker for green majestic landscapes. Actually, I have a list of countries with the most beautiful green landscapes (not joking) and it includes (but is not limited to): New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Slovenia, Canada… and Scotland was on this list for a long long time.
Last month I spent the most magical 4 days in Scotland, based in Edinburgh (to be pronounced “Edinbrah”) and oh how I loved Edinburgh. I loved it fiercely! It’s one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to and I’ve been around quite a bit, but it’s not the only part of Scotland I loved. See where I’m going with this? Here is a list (again) of all the things I loved about this side of the UK.
Edinburgh streets. Wandering in the city was like living a fairytale. I was based in the heart of the historic Royal Mile in the old town, so exploring was very easy as I could walk everywhere. The city has a very special charm that’s very different from what you can find in the rest of the UK, and because of ancient volcanic activity it has a unique landscape. If you add to this mix old medieval buildings, a Georgian new town and some Gothic touches here and there, it doesn’t take much for you to fall in love with it.
The Scots. The people is Scotland are friendly and welcoming! They love their country and they are so proud of it, they will also tell you “Braveheart” murdered their history. On my last day in Scotland they were out on the streets protesting Brexit and it was so peaceful it felt more of a celebration.
The wonderful landscapes. Now let’s talk about my favorite part; Mountains, lakes, trees, anything green. If you’re going to Scotland, the Highlands need to be on your schedule. We took a day trip through the highlands to Loch Ness, and it felt like we needed more than a day to fully live it as the drive itself is quite long from Edinburgh. But the experience itself was amazing. I mean before my trip I researched, looked at pictures, daydreamed about how beautiful the country is, but none of this prepared me to how actually beautiful the landscapes were, they looked like coming out of a Windows wallpaper (not kidding). The mix between the mountains and the lakes is beautiful.
Scotland has 31,460 lochs (lake in Scottish Gaelic), that’s a LOT of water for a 5 Million people and around 80,000 km²! so you can only imagine with that amount of water how green the country is. The best moments of this trip were me standing in front of a mountain or a lake (or both), freezing (sometimes under the rain), and just staring and wondering how I got so lucky to witness this kind of beauty, real beauty.
Castles. They’re everywhere and they’re very different from each other. My favorite is Urquhart, the castle right next to Loch Ness; the landscapes (again), the greenery and the history behind it. Some people can even see the Loch Ness monster, if they drink enough Whiskey!
The Food (actually it’s the Sea Food). Scotland is one of the biggest salmon exporters as they have the finest Sea Food. I had fish almost every day and it tasted amazing! I recommend “Michael’s Steak & Seafood Bar” and “Whiski Bar & Restaurant” if you want to try great Scottish Fresh Sea Food. One thing everyone will want you to try is “Haggis” which is a local dish. I would have tried it but after our guide explained to us what’s in it I passed.
Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat. I wanted to talk about these two specifically because they’re both standing on dormant volcanoes and they both give you the most beautiful views of the city. Arthur’s Seat is quite the hike though, be prepared!
Even though I loved Scotland so much, there is still a place I didn’t like and It takes a lot for me not to like a place I travel to, because I always manage to find an aspect to like. Glasgow, however, felt cold (not weather wise), the buildings felt grey and I didn’t feel like they were telling me a story. I stayed around 3 hours that I spent in the “Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum”, a beautiful building with beautiful exhibitions, but that’s about it.
I definitely feel like I will want to go back to Scotland in couple of years, spend more time in the Highlands to take it all in, hoping that when I leave, its beauty will get stuck in my mind to help me get through Dubai’s grey skyline.
Cheers to the places we are yet to explore!